|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-8 About a hundred years before, at Jonah's preaching, the Ninevites repented, and were spared, yet, soon after, they became worse than ever. Nineveh knows not that God who contends with her, but is told what a God he is. It is good for all to mix faith with what is here said concerning Him, which speaks great terror to the wicked, and comfort to believers. Let each take his portion from it: let sinners read it and tremble; and let saints read it and triumph. The anger of the Lord is contrasted with his goodness to his people. Perhaps they are obscure and little regarded in the world, but the Lord knows them. The Scripture character of Jehovah agrees not with the views of proud reasoners. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is slow to wrath and ready to forgive, but he will by no means acquit the wicked; and there is tribulation and anguish for every soul that doeth evil: but who duly regards the power of his wrath?
Verse 3. - Slow to anger (Exodus 34:6, 7). Nahum seems to take up the words of Jonah (Jonah 4:2) or Joel (Joel 2:13). God is long suffering, not from weakness, but because he is great in power, and can punish when he will. Will not at all acquit the wicked; literally, holding pure will not hold pure; i.e. he will not treat the guilty as innocent. Ἀθωῶν [Alex., ἀθῶον] οὐκ ἀθωώσει (Septuagint); Mundans non faciet innocentem (comp. Exodus 20:7; Exodus 34:7). The Lord hath his way, etc. The prophet grounds his description of the majesty and might of God upon the revelation at the Exodus and at Sinai. (see Exodus 19:16-18; Psalm 18; Psalm 97.). The clouds are the dust of his feet, Large and grand as the clouds look to us, they are to God but as the dust raised by the feet in walking. As an illustration of this statement (though, of course, the fact was utterly unknown to Nahum), it has been remarked that recent scientific discovery asserts that clouds owe their beauty, and even their very existence, to the presence of dust particles in the atmosphere. The aqueous vapour, it is said, condenses on these particles, and thus becomes visible.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The Lord is slow to anger,.... He is not in haste to execute it; he takes time for it, and gives men space for repentance. Nineveh had had a proof of this when it repented at the preaching of Jonah, upon which the Lord deferred the execution of his wrath; but lest they should presume upon this, and conclude the Lord would always bear with them, though they had returned to their former impieties; they are let to know, that this his forbearance was not owing to want of power or will in him to punish: since he is
great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked; he is able to execute the wrath he threatens, and will by no means clear the guilty, or let them go free and unpunished; though he moves slowly, as he may seem in the execution of his judgments, yet they shall surely be brought on his enemies, and be fully accomplished:
the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet; he spoke to Job out of the whirlwind; he descended on Mount Sinai in a storm and tempest; and the clouds are his chariots; in which he rides swiftly; and which, for their appearance and number, are like the dust raised by a multitude of horsemen riding full speed, The wrath of God may be compared to a whirlwind, and a storm, which is sometimes hastily and suddenly executed upon men: respect seems to be had to the armies of the Medes and Chaldeans against the Assyrians; who, as the Babylonians against the Jews, came up as clouds, and their chariots as the whirlwind, Jeremiah 4:13; and the figures beautifully describe the numbers of them, the force with which they came; and in an elegant manner represent the vast quantity of dust raised by an army in full march; at the head of which was the Lord himself, ordering, directing, and succeeding, before whom none can stand.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. slow to anger, and great in power—that is, but great in power, so as to be able in a moment, if He pleases, to destroy the wicked. His long-suffering is not from want of power to punish (Ex 34:6, 7).
not at all acquit—literally, "will not acquitting acquit," or treat as innocent.
Lord hath his way in the whirlwind—From this to Na 1:5, inclusive, is a description of His power exhibited in the phenomena of nature, especially when He is wroth. His vengeance shall sweep away the Assyrian foe like a whirlwind (Pr 10:25).
clouds are the dust of his feet—Large as they are, He treads on them, as a man would on the small dust; He is Lord of the clouds, and uses them as He pleases.
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